I just got off the phone with Robbin Owen of the National Park Service (Capital Region) and an officer of the Park Police, and I am very pleased to report that my submitted permit application for a demonstration calling on President Barack Obama to uphold the Constitution is “on path to approval”. Pending Secret Service declaring whatever it is going to declare at the last minute, the demonstration appears to be on track to occur in a reserved space on the Pennsylvania Avenue Parade route. Unless glitches get thrown in the way (and the National Park Service sees no looming glitches), we even appear to be headed for a spot right in front of the Department of Justice building, right across the street from the J. Edgar Hoover FBI headquarters.
In short, it looks like we’ll get exactly what the permit application envisioned.
One big caveat: according to Ms. Owen, the National Park Service and its regulations can be overruled by the Secret Service on grounds of “national security.” This is not to say that it will happen (and the NPS has no indication that it will), but it might. I’ll keep you posted on that.
In the coming days, I’ll also post a transcript of this recorded (with permission) conversation with the National Park Service, some interesting information about secret documents we citizens can’t see that have to do with political demonstration regulations, and publicity materials to help spread the word.
This is very good news in my book. It tells me that one guy in Ohio, not part of some coalition of groups with a big acronym name, unconnected to anybody in any position of power, can submit a handwritten permit application to demonstrate on the biggest political day in DC in memory… and have it be (tentatively) approved. If this goes through, it shows that the assembly, speech and petition protections of the First Amendment are not quite dead.
Here’s my question to you, you readers who have left indignant comments about the constitution over the past eight years, you readers who have said people need to get out into the streets and say something about civil liberty in America:
Will you be there?